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OpenStack Board Member Rob Hirschfeld on the impact of DevOps, SDN, Docker & more

Art Fewell | Feb. 26, 2015
I recently had the great pleasure to sit down with community-elected OpenStack board member and Crowbar co-creator, Rob Hirschfeld. Rob shared awesome nuggets of wisdom on data center and cloud operations, you can view the video and the full transcript below:

Art Fewell: Whether you're a computer, whether you're a hard drive, whether you're a piece of memory or a network.

Rob Hirschfeld: I like to be software. Go ahead.

ArtFewell: Yeah, you could be software. I think everything ... At some point when you look at the computer science of it there's a natural best place for things to fit. You match that against vendor interest and it becomes ... If you're a storage company everything should be storage. If you're s server company everything is servers and so on and so forth.

I think one of the things that's been really nice in OpenStack is you're starting to see vendors that wouldn't have budged in certain areas before, really starting to say, we can't come to this OpenStack community, all these respected technologists with a straight face and say, "Yeah. This is how it should be." when these things are a lot more obviously and vendor interest.

Rob Hirschfeld: It's definitely forcing a different behavior. Small things I love about OpenStack and part of how the community operates is if your vendors are learning how to work in these open communities. When they don't do it right they're told very strongly that they don't.

I've seen this transformation where it's amazing to me. I've been talking to major companies who were scratching their heads saying, "I need to figure out how to be more open." When I was at Dell, that was one of the things that we were showing a lot of leadership for and there's a lot of enthusiasm like, "All right, you're doing it, all this open source work. What do we do? How does that work? How do we turn that into a business?"

Companies are finding out from their customers that they have to be more open. It's an important part of doing business. We actually leveraged it as a competitive advantage in that we could work in the open collaboratively with our customers and partners and actually do advanced work and talk to them in a way that we couldn't dialogue before.

It's really important that it's about communication. Your point was we're communicating differently and vendors have an opportunity to listen to their customers in a new way in the open communities. If your vendor isn't listening through an OpenStack community or whatever other communities are involved in, then they've missed the point of doing open source. It's not just about commoditization and free and things like that.

Art Fewell: That's a great point 'cause I think if you look at the way a lot of software development has been done historically, one of the things that would facilitate the growth of the economy is to lower the barriers of entry and make it easier for people to start to engage in complex software projects. I think open source has clearly done that.


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